Bexhill Councillor Charles Clark speaks out on domestic abuse

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From: Cllr Charles Clark, Rother Cabinet member for housing, welfare and equalities

Domestic abuse reporting is on the increase as women today are beginning to believe someone will listen to them, which was not always the case in the past.

Sussex Police do have specialist teams who can support women suffering domestic abuse.

I have been involved in some very harrowing domestic violence cases in my ward in recent times.

There are many ways a woman can be abused – controlling finances, checking all her e-mails, texts, etc, preventing her having contact with friends and family, telling her she is useless and worthless.

I despair when I am told, ‘it’s part my fault, I upset him, he gets violent but he does not mean it’.

Let’s be clear, it’s not your fault, there is no excuse for violence against your partner.

Very often a family have to give up their home and move away to escape an abusive relationship. This can mean losing contact with family and friends. I always worry about the effects on children living in this environment.

There is also a worrying trend of increasing domestic abuse among our retired population. This is often linked to heavy drinking causing violent outbursts.

I welcome the government’s new bill on domestic abuse, but it will only be effective if it is properly resourced and police, councils and support teams can deliver it.

I am a White Ribbon champion – an organisation that seeks to engage with men and educate that men must say no to violence against women.

There should be an overall force training programme for police officers, so they know how to act when attending a domestic abuse incident.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, find the courage to call the police. They will support you, and help to resolve the pain and distress you are going through.